Some highlights from the Rexer Analytics’ 5th Annual Data Miner Survey (2011):
SURVEY & PARTICIPANTS: 52-item survey of data miners, conducted on-line in 2011. Participants: 1,319 data miners from over 60 countries.
FIELDS & GOALS: Data miners work in a diverse set of fields. CRM/Marketing has been the #1 field for the past five years. Fittingly, “improving the understanding of customers”, “retaining customers” and other CRM goals continue to be the goals identified by the most data miners.
ALGORITHMS: Decision trees, regression, and cluster analysis continue to form a triad of core algorithms for most data miners. However, a wide variety of algorithms are being used. A third of data miners currently use text mining and another third plan to do so in the future.
TOOLS: R continued its rise this year and is now being used by close to half of all data miners (47%). R users report preferring it for being free, open source, and having a wide variety of algorithms. Many people also cited R’s flexibility and the strength of the user community. STATISTICA is selected as the primary data mining tool by the most respondents (17%). Data miners report using an average of 4 software tools. STATISTICA, KNIME, Rapid Miner and Salford Systems received the strongest satisfaction ratings in 2011.
ANALYTIC CAPABILITY AND SUCCESS MEASUREMENT: Only 12% of corporate respondents rate their company as having very high analytic sophistication. However, companies with better analytic capabilities are outperforming their peers. Respondents report analyzing analytic success via Return on Investment (ROI) and analyzing the predictive validity or accuracy of their models. Challenges to measuring success include client or user cooperation and data availability/quality.